500BestSquareChicken Tikka Masala @ Nirvana

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Nirvana is the city’s biggest Indian restaurant, the work of Anjay Keswani, whose father opened New Orleans’s first Indian restaurant in 1982. That one had a tandoor–the claypot oven, capable of generating temperatures into the 800s. Without doubt the most popular tandoori dish is chicken, usually cut into chunks and lowered on a skewer. This is made with chicken breasts, and comes out roasted to crispness on the outside while remaining juicy inside. That chicken in turn is the basis of the most popular dish in all of Indian cookery: chicken curry. The sauce is only one of many that bear the name “curry,” but this is the flavor most people think of when they think of curry.

Nirvana. Uptown: 4308 Magazine. 504-894-9797.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.

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